BISHKEK, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan lifted a temporary ban on adoption of its orphans by foreigners, imposed last year after a corruption scandal.
The ex-Soviet republic of 5.6 million changed adoption rules, stepping up punishment for adoption-related fraud, the press service of the country’s Social Development Ministry said on Saturday.
The ministry’s former head, Ravshan Sabirov, was jailed for five years in 2013 for extorting $20,000 from a foreign adoption firm.
At least 18 Kyrgyz children were adopted to Italy bypassing the necessary legal procedures under the scheme endorsed by Sabirov, Kyrgyz prosecutors claimed last year.
Foreigners adopted 304 of the 3,243 orphans from the impoverished country who found new families in 2010-2012, local news website Knews.kg reported in September.
Kyrgyzstan is not the only post-Soviet country having problems with international adoptions: In 2012, Russia banned American citizens from adopting Russian children.
The Kremlin cited lack of legal oversight over the adopted Russians, who were subjected to abuse in several cases.
However, critics claimed the move was retaliation for the United States blacklisting dozens of Russian officials implicated in rights abuse.